A girl sat alone on the bench outside of her house. Falling leaves littered the ground around her all different colours. She was thinking of the boy. The boy. The boy. Her boy, she supposed. Oh what a beautiful day, she thought as the crisp winds ruffled through her hair. Auburn silk. She almost laughed aloud. No, her hair wasn’t that pretty. She didn’t care, though. She walked barefoot from the bench, feet crunching in the leaves. I wish he was here. She sighed, and wrapped her scarf tighter around herself. Continuing walking, she looked up. The sky was grey like something she’d never seen. The clouds rolled through, pushed along by the north wind. She felt a tap on her shoulder. She looked up, surprised. No one was there. How odd, she thought. She walked quicker now, not wanting to waste time. Then she felt a whisper ever so slight from the trunk of the fallen tree. That great oak had stood for nearly a century, then in early spring years ago, a great gust of wind had torn it up at the roots. Too big for anyone to move it, and too remote in the woods for anyone to care, the tree lay there, slowly intermingling with the earth. She looked inside of the trunk. A light was springing from the very center inside of it. She was shocked, naturally, but also unnervingly curious as to it’s source. She took off her scarf and jacket, leaving her in simply denim summer shorts and a deep blue sweater. She laid her scarf and jacket on the ground carefully avoiding mud, and crawled inside the trunk. She spied numerous spiders spinning webs as blankets for the coming winter. Even a small creature sleeping. She wiggled past so cautiously as to not disturb anything. When she was almost to the middle of the hollow log, the ground started to shake. Something pulled her out of the fallen tree. The ground stopped shaking. The forest was still again. She brushed decomposing insects off, and tried again to reach the elusive unexplained light source. she was almost there again, when this time she heard rushing water. The trunk of the tree was going to flood. She had to get out. She was stuck on something. She couldn’t move. A wave of water came through the great tree, filling her mouth, eyes, and nose. She was pushed out along with the creek water. All wet, she looked down at her feet. They were cold now, a bluish shade. She could still feel them though, and when she bent down again to look in the hollow log, the water was gone and the light was still there. Everything was dry inside the fallen oak. She looked down, surprised. Even she was dry, once she stepped inside the trunk. She couldn’t stand up, so she crawled. Again, she was almost to the glowing spot. A wind reminiscent of the one that had knocked the tree down thundered through the hollow wood. She tried to hold on and almost succeeded, but alas, the wind blew the girl right out. Ok, she thought. How many times can I not succeed? She, again, bent down and crawled through. Quicker this time, then the others. She could see the light source. It was coming from the ground underneath the log. The tree grew warmer as she got closer to the light. She slowed down. Everything seemed to hold it’s breath. Then the light exploded outwards. She shot out of the fallen tree’s trunk, back into the cold autumn air outside. She hit her head against a standing tree. Everything faded away. She woke up, hours later, her scarf and jacket back on. She was covered in leaves. It was dark. She stood up, holding her aching skull with both hands. The temperature had dropped at least twenty degrees. She remembered idly that the weather report had stated that tonight was the first freeze. She crawled one more time back inside the great fallen oak. This time she didn’t go far. She didn’t try to obtain the light source. She stopped when she was just sheltered from the wind. Something was definitely off about this tree. Somehow the fallen tree was growing warmer again. Her eyes snapped open. Three raccoons had scampered inside of the log. The were sleeping around the light. She smiled. Almost like a campfire, she thought. Oh, if her boy could see this, he would laugh. He would even try and take one of them home as a pet. He wouldn’t be successful in the endeavour, of course, and he would most likely end up with a face full of teeth marks, a trip to the emergency room and numerous rabies and tetanus shots, but the danger of that would far from stop him from trying. The light was constant, so it wasn’t a fire, but it was warm like one. She edged closer, trying to stay warm, but at the same time trying not to awaken the critters or disturb the light. She was reaching forward to warm a hand when suddenly a raccoon’s eye snapped open. She stopped, and remained motionless. They watched each other with great interest. Much to her surprise, the one awakened raccoon sniffed her hand and moved over from the light to let her closer. For the first time, she truly saw what it was. She couldn’t believe it! A tiny floating daisy, perfect as when it first bloomed, encased in a glowing shrine of light. It gave off warmth like eternal spring. A tiny, beautiful, bewitching, figure stepped out of the daisy. Nothing like you see in stories. Wild, tangled, hair that fell past her hips, pointed, devilish, features, and a voice like thunderstorms and wildfires and a calming ocean and a warm breeze through a woodland. It spoke to her in a way like a grandmother’s last words and baby’s first breath. She fell asleep without meaning to, there, inside of the fallen tree, with the creatures and raccoons and smell of sunshine. The next morning she awoke in bed in what she was wearing the night before. A text from the boy was on her phone. When she reached out to grab it from the table beside her bed, something fell out of her hand. Old, rolled up parchment, upon further inspection. Inside, in smallest font, this was written:
Think what you will.
We protect what is real.
We give you this gift of knowledge.
Treasure it well.
She shook her head to clear it, and remembered everything.
The End! Hope you liked my story. Tell me what you think in the comments below. :) Sorry for any grammar mistakes.